Billy Monger joins Channel 4’s F1 team as 2019 coverage details finalised

Channel 4 have officially confirmed their coverage plans for the 2019 Formula One season.

Despite a reduced presence in 2019 compared with previous seasons, the free-to-air broadcaster has retained the core of its presentation line-up. The broadcaster this year will air highlights of every round plus live coverage of the British Grand Prix weekend.

As announced by the man himself last week on Twitter, Steve Jones continues in his role as presenter. David Coulthard, Mark Webber, and Eddie Jordan join Jones in the paddock, whilst Ben Edwards remains as lead commentator, with Coulthard remaining alongside him in the booth.

In a surprise move, Lee McKenzie continues in her role as reporter, having previously noted as recently as January that she was not covering Formula 1 in 2019.

The main on-screen addition is that of 19-year old Billy Monger, who will provide analysis throughout the season alongside his racing exploits. Monger continues to impress fans and pundits alike following his life-changing accident in April 2017.

As this site exclusively revealed before Christmas, Whisper Films, the production company led by Coulthard, Jake Humphrey and Sunil Patel, have retained the contract to produce Channel 4’s coverage.

Channel 4’s Head of Entertainment and Events, Ed Havard said: “Channel 4 will once again be the destination for F1 fans to enjoy the action free to air throughout the year, including live coverage of the British GP.”

“I’m delighted that the young racing superstar Billy Monger will be joining our team alongside F1 legends David Coulthard and Mark Webber. We’ve got a truly world class presenting line up for F1 on 4.”

Monger added “I’m delighted to join the Channel 4 F1 team this season working around my own racing calendar.”

“I’ve been watching the F1 coverage on TV since I was little and whilst my goal remains to be racing in one of the cars out on track one day, I am really excited to get broadcasting from the paddock this year.”

Strong team for C4 F1 in 2019
Despite a reduced offering in 2019, Channel 4 have survived the winter with just one of their on-air talent (Karun Chandhok) opting to move to Sky. Mark Webber, who was also rumoured to be making the switch, has remained with Channel 4.

The other on-screen change concerns Susie Wolff. Channel 4’s press release does not reference Wolff, Wolff now busy in her role as Venturi Formula E team principal. As in previous years, expect Jones, Coulthard and Edwards to be on-site at every race, with the other analysts rotating throughout the year.

The addition of Monger is unexpected, but could fit in with his own driving activities this year. Over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend last November, Monger spoke of his aspiration to be in Formula Three this season.

Of course, Formula Three is part of the overall F1 weekend offering, and if Monger was successful in getting an F3 drive, then logistically the Channel 4 deal makes sense as Monger would already be on-site in the F1 paddock.

The size of Channel 4’s team fits in with the notion that their package will remain comprehensive, as reported last September.

As previously noted, the overall length of the highlights programme will drop slightly this season, with the race edit itself taking the hit. This explains why the shape and size of Channel 4’s team remains like last year.

It may also explain why Channel 4 have not directly replaced Chandhok, who reported from pit lane during each race. I suspect Whisper will use both Webber and McKenzie during commentary as necessary to fill the gap that Chandhok leaves behind, as difficult as that is to do given the role he played in their coverage from 2016 to 2018.

Crucially, Channel 4’s line-up has not been decimated meaning that their overall product will remain distinctive, and more importantly UK fans still have three different teams of personnel on offer to choose from (Sky, Channel 4 and BBC 5 Live).

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Site announcement: out with the old, in with the new

Hi all,

As many of you know, I have been running The F1 Broadcasting Blog for nearly seven years. The site has generated attention inside and outside of motor racing paddocks, both domestically and internationally.

In that time, the site has covered major stories in the motor sport media landscape, and has revealed some exclusives too. In the capacity of site editor, I have attended events on two wheels and four wheels, as well as the launch of Channel 4’s F1 coverage and the Autosport Show, amongst other events.

At those events, it has been a pleasure to hear people who I enjoy watching and respect, say how they enjoy reading my thoughts and opinions, and that this site is their place to go for broadcasting news. I run this site myself alongside my day job, there is no large group of people or backing behind the site, and I have been amazed at the growth it has had over the seven years.

I initially named the site The F1 Broadcasting Blog, as Formula 1 was, and still is, the focus. However, in recent years, I have focused increasingly on the broadcasting efforts of other championships, including the likes of Formula E, MotoGP, and the World Rally Championship.

Because of the effort from myself to diversify into different areas, it means that the original name of the site is, perhaps, no longer the most accurate. On the eve of the 2019 season, I have taken the opportunity to rebrand the site to better reflect the content that I write.

Moving forward, the site will be known as Motorsport Broadcasting, located at https://www.motorsportbroadcasting.com/.

The website content will not change, with an emphasis on behind the scenes content, news, scheduling, viewing figures, television rights, social media; spanning across the motor sport spectrum. For the moment, the Facebook and Twitter handles will remain in the same case, but the intention in the medium to longer term is to change these.

It has not been an easy decision to re-brand the site, but I feel that now is as good a time as any, ahead of the new season, rather than performing a re-brand half way through the season. I am hopeful the site will continue to lead the way on reporting the broadcasting stories that matter to fans of this wonderful sport.

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

WRC strikes deal to remain on Channel 5 network

Organisers of the World Rally Championship have struck a deal to remain on Channel 5 network in the UK.

The championship has regularly aired in highlights form on Channel 5’s main outlet since 2016, with 60-minute highlights airing in a week day time slot at 19:00. However, coverage of the first round of the 2019 season, the Monte Carlo rally did not air on any of Channel 5’s outlets, nor on any other free-to-air television network, leaving WRC’s free-to-air future in limbo.

Now, the series will continue on the Channel 5 network, with highlights for the Sweden round airing on their sister channel 5Spike this upcoming Monday at 19:00.

A WRC spokesperson said “We have an agreement with Channel 5 and the Sweden highlights will be broadcast on Spike next Monday.”

It is unclear whether the season as a whole will air on 5Spike, which may be considered a demotion compared with the past three years when highlights aired on Channel 5’s main channel, or whether this is a one-off move before reverting to the main Channel 5 station from Mexico.

Scheduling: The 2019 Mexico City E-Prix / F1 Barcelona test 1

Formula E hurdles towards one-third distance as the second leg of its South American tour takes it to Mexico for the Mexico City E-Prix.

The electric championship uses part of the Formula 1 circuit, encompassing the famous stadium section. As usual, the race airs live across the BBC’s digital platforms, with BT Sport, Eurosport and Formula E’s YouTube channel also covering the action.

Formula E’s support series, the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy returns in Mexico, with both qualifying and race airing live on BT Sport. Sweden plays host to round two of the World Rally Championship, where one expects much more snow than what fans saw in Monte Carlo for the season opener.

Meanwhile, Formula 1 testing gets underway in Barcelona, where the big news is that the first test will air live across F1’s over-the-top platform and Sky Sports F1. However, the F1 TV stream is only available to Pro users (which UK fans do not have access to), meaning that UK fans will need to watch Sky F1 for testing.

Sky are covering each of the four afternoon sessions live as well as the review show, whereas F1 TV is covering the complete day live. Sky are not repeating the live action, so if you want to watch it, you will need to set your recorders. Little is known about the presentation team currently, although Karun Chandhok has alluded to his involvement on Twitter.

Elsewhere, the Williams documentary premieres on BBC Two having been released on DVD in 2017. Whilst I am happy to see it premiere on a major platform, the decision to air it against Formula E on the Red Button is an odd move by BBC’s schedulers.

Formula E – Mexico City
Shakedown, Practice and Qualifying also air live on YouTube…
15/02 – 21:45 to 22:30 – Shakedown (BT Sport 1)
16/02 – 13:15 to 14:30 – Practice 1 (BT Sport 3)
16/02 – 15:45 to 16:45 – Practice 2 (BT Sport 3)
16/02 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport 3 and Eurosport 2)
16/02 – 21:30 to 23:30 – Race: World Feed
=> live on BBC’s digital platforms from 22:00
=> live on BT Sport 3
=> live on Eurosport 2
16/02 – 21:30 to 23:10 – Race: Voltage (YouTube)
18/02 – 00:00 to 01:00 – Highlights (Quest)

Formula E Radio – Mexico City (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
16/02 – 17:40 to 19:10 – Qualifying
16/02 – 21:45 to 23:15 – Race

F1 Testing – Barcelona 1 (Sky Sports F1)
13/02 – 15:00 to 15:30 – Racing Point Launch
14/02 – 12:00 to 12:30 – McLaren Launch
18/02 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Day 1
=> track action from 13:00 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> review at 17:00
18/02 – 19:55 to 20:55 – Day 1 Review (R)
19/02 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Day 2
=> track action from 13:00 (also Sky Sports Main Event until 14:00)
=> review at 17:00
19/02 – 20:25 to 21:25 – Day 2 Review (R)
20/02 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Day 3
=> track action from 13:00 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> review at 17:00
20/02 – 20:05 to 21:05 – Day 3 Review (R)
21/02 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Day 4
=> track action from 13:00 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> review at 17:00
21/02 – 20:05 to 21:05 – Day 4 Review (R)

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series – Mexico City (BT Sport 3)
16/02 – 14:30 to 15:15 – Qualifying
16/02 – 19:45 to 20:45 – Race

Williams Film (BBC Two)
16/02 – 21:00 to 22:45

World Rally Championship – Sweden (All Live – BT Sport Extra 1)
Every stage also live via WRCPlus.com
14/02 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Shakedown
14/02 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Stage 1
15/02 – 06:45 to 17:15 – Stages 2 to 8
16/02 – 06:00 to 19:15 – Stages 9 to 16
17/02 – 05:30 to 12:45 – Stages 17 to 19

World Rally Championship – Sweden
14/02 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
15/02 – 21:45 to 22:15 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
16/02 – 08:30 to 09:30 – Stage 11 (BT Sport 2)
16/02 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Stage 14 (BT Sport/ESPN)
16/02 – 22:00 to 22:30 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
17/02 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
17/02 – 20:00 to 20:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
18/02 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (5Spike)

As always, I will update this site as and when further details confirmed.

Update on February 15th – Two pieces of good news. WRC highlights will air on 5Spike on Monday, whilst Formula E makes it BBC radio debut on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. Formula E has its own bespoke radio commentary, with Claire Cottingham, Tom Gaymor and Marc Priestley in the booth for Mexico.

Steve Jones to continue as Channel 4’s Formula 1 presenter

Steve Jones has confirmed that he will continue to present Channel 4’s Formula 1 programming this year.

Jones has hosted Channel 4’s coverage since its inception in 2016, presenting both their live and highlight races. With Channel 4’s coverage changing for 2019 because of Sky’s exclusive Formula 1 deal, Jones will present the races in highlights form, as well as live coverage of the British Grand Prix.

Writing on his Twitter feed, Jones said “I’m back in 2019! Here I am in the gym pumping some serious iron, like the drivers, I need to be in peak condition to hold some heavy @C4F1 mic this season. See you in Melbourne.”

In his presenting role, Jones has impressed during the past three seasons, gelling well inside the Formula 1 paddock and with the on-air pundits alongside him including David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan, and Mark Webber.

Jones is the first person to officially confirm that he will be returning in an on-air role, although Coulthard is expected to return as analyst given his close involvement with production company Whisper Films, the Scotsman referencing C4 F1 on his Twitter feed last week.

Lee McKenzie and Karun Chandhok are not returning to Channel 4’s coverage for 2019, McKenzie focusing on activities outside of Formula 1, whilst Chandhok has signed up with Sky Sports for this season.

As revealed before Christmas, John Curtis, who previously worked with Sky, is now leading up Whisper Films’ F1 production team, with Mark Wilkin stepping aside, whilst the length of the individual race edits are set to decrease slightly compared with previous years.

An official announcement on Channel 4’s finalised coverage plans for the 2019 season is expected imminently.